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WNBA announces 1st annual Commissioner’s Cup season tournament

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NEW YORK – The WNBA is taking advantage of its ever-growing platform by announcing a new in-season tournament, the Commissioner’s Cup.

This is a one-of-a-kind tournament that we have not seen in North American professional sports before; a prize pool of $500,000 is at stake for the winner as well as bragging rights within their respective conference.

The Commissioner’s Cup is laid out like this:

  • 60 intra-conference “Cup games” during the first half of the season – 10 per team – are being dedicated exclusively toward the tournament.
  • The “Cup games” are the first home and road game each team plays against its five conference rivals. The teams with the highest winning percentage in said games from each conference will earn a berth in the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup championship game on Aug. 12 in Phoenix.
  • Members of the winning team will be able to earn in excess of $30,000 per player, while those on the runner-up team will have an opportunity to earn $10,000 per player. An additional $5,000 will be awarded to the MVP of the Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game.

Exclusive coverage of the Commissioner’s Cup championship game will be provided by Amazon Prime, who earlier Wednesday announced a multi-year agreement with the WNBA to stream 16 regular-season games per year – including nine Commissioner Cup games. Amazon Prime Video’s WNBA coverage tips off on Saturday, May 29, as the Atlanta Dream go head to head with the New York Liberty. This matchup will be the first time Prime Video has exclusive international streaming rights to a professional basketball game, as WNBA on Prime Video will be available across hundreds of compatible devices worldwide as part of a Prime membership (excluding China, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Italy). Prime Video games will be distributed in the participating teams’ markets through the teams’ local distribution partners.

“To have the Commissioner’s Cup come to life in this historic 25th WNBA season is a testament to the players, fans, partners and WNBA teams who have supported and driven innovation at the league,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “Together, we view the Commissioner’s Cup not just as a compelling competition, but as a multi-faceted platform designed to drive opportunities for broader fan engagement, create additional interest around our regular season games, convene around equity and equality themes in our WNBA markets, and provide the players with an opportunity to earn significant cash compensation.”

The full schedule of “Cup games” can be found at wnba.com/schedule; the regular season tips off on Friday, May 14 with the Indiana Fever and New York Liberty kicking things off in the league’s 25th anniversary.

Chris Bullock
Chris Bullock
Before joining The Ball Out, Chris Bullock was part of SB Nation's Swish Appeal for nearly three years, covering everything women's basketball. Chris has had the honor of doing live coverage of the WNBA Finals, the NCAA Tournament, and also was given his own column, "The Triple Double". A self-described "foodaholic", Chris lives in the San Diego area with his wife and two daughters, and also hosts his own podcast, "Conscious Cravings", where he speaks about his experience as a mental health advocate.

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